NSW Government to investigate strict penalties for violence at sports events

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The NSW Government has begun working with major codes, venue operators and community groups to investigate new penalties aimed at protecting sporting volunteers and referees.

With a huge number of people in NSW regularly participating in organised sport, the need for volunteers and referees has never been greater.

The NSW Minister for Sport, Steve Kamper, reiterated his support for volunteers and referees, highlighting the ongoing need to treat these grassroots sporting heroes with the respect and appreciation they deserve.

Mr Kamper said the recent violence experienced by Khodr Yaghi was shocking and unacceptable and more needs to be done to stamp out this behaviour.

Footage of the referee attack in Sydney on Khodr Yaghi.

“Like all of NSW I was sickened by the attack on Khodr. Our referees and volunteers deserve our respect, but more importantly they deserve to be safe,” Mr Kamper said.

The NSW Government is exploring stricter policies to punish violent or abusive behaviour, including lifetime bans from all sporting venues, sanctions against teams or clubs where individuals are allowed to be involved after being suspended, and a greater campaign to encourage respectful behaviour.

These mechanisms and sanctions will be tailored to individual sports and will be developed through deep consultation to ensure their effectiveness.

“We are looking forward to working with sport organisations on how we can ensure that this behaviour is stamped out of our grassroots sporting communities,” Mr Kamper said.

“Without volunteers there is no grassroots sport – we must do everything in our power to ensure they feel safe and respected.”

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